CD Review - Mi Ami 'Watersports'

Friday, March 6, 2009

MI AMI "Watersports" Quarterstick

FOR THOSE WHO frequented local punk venues a few years back, Mi Ami's sprawling grooves may sound familiar. The San Francisco trio was founded by singer-guitarist Daniel Martin-McCormick and bassist Jacob Long, who pursued a similar style with D.C.'s Black Eyes. But where that band pushed toward chaos, the new outfit is more controlled. On its first album, "Watersports," Mi Ami repeatedly pulls up short of the abyss.

Admittedly, the distinction is slight during such tracks as "The Man in Your House," in which Martin-McCormick shrieks as wildly as ever. On balance, however, Mi Ami's music is sturdier and better focused. Whether playing the bass-heavy dub of "Echononecho" or the guitar-driven funk of "White Wife," Long and drummer Damon Palermo keep the clamor on track. The rhythms roll confidently while Martin-McCormick trades vocals with himself, unleashes electric squalls or explores the outer limits of falsetto. Even the most accessible of these songs, the kinetic "New Guitar," doesn't offer much in the way of melody. But vigor and propulsion Mi Ami has in abundance.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Tuesday with Food for Animals and Lexie Mountain Boys at the Velvet Lounge (202-462-3213, Show starts at 9 p.m.

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